Q&A: Makhosazane Sekgwama transforms T-shirt waste into designer homeware

by | May 22, 2020

Inspired by the KwaZulu-Natal landscapes, Makhosazane Sekgwama crochets baskets, pot plant covers, pouffes, throws and rugs using recycled cotton fabric from waste fabric.

The philosophy of Makhosazane’s brand, Rosa Handmade, is underpinned by sustainability. The textile artist believes that products should be multi-functional, highly durable, and environmentally-friendly and that ticking all these boxes is what makes a truly great artist.

Why is your craft so special to you?

It comes from an honest and personal space where I get to connect with my own childhood and tell stories to the modern audience that can still relate and instantly connect to and find instant use in the products I make.

Who and what are your design inspirations and influences and why?

I am influenced by the likes of Molla Mills. They are so versatile in their crochet design patterns, just about any space or visual inspires them to design useful and aesthetically pleasing products. And, they enjoy what they do.

What are the materials that you use and why?

My products are almost always made from well-worn, perfectly soft and still durable T-shirt material that is just slightly stretchy. The fibre composition is determined by the material the T-shirt is made from.T-shirt yarn is also known as ‘tarn’. I source the yarn from local wholesalers who source it directly from local factories.

What inspires the colours and the patterns in your work?

Growing up in rural villages has been a great inspiration for the colours and patterns I choose. The beautiful KZN landscapes and our South African hot climate inspire me.

What challenges do you face as a creative?

Scaling up is a challenge. It is expected that I should mass produce the most popular products but there is a limited supply of the yarn I work with since it is recycled material.

Why is sustainability in design important?

We have to ensure that the future generation has natural resources, that what we design does not deplete the earth of its natural resources and that we produce what is necessary while remaining mindful of the environment. I think we should produce less and find ways of reusing what is already produced. I believe in using slower ways of producing, such as hand weaving and create lasting, durable products that are made from recycled materials.

What are you doing to protect your business against coronavirus?

I have taken extra measures to eliminate the chances of contracting or transferring the Covid-19 virus by keeping my working space well sanitised at all times and having a mask handy.  I am mostly working alone and my small team are working at their homes.

Which moment in your career stands out for you? 

Being able to participate in the Design Indaba 2020 Emerging Creatives was definitely a big highlight for me. I met incredibly amazing fellow local creatives as well as great international designers and also got to attend the conference where a great wealth of information was shared by world renowned designers.

You can find Makhosazane’s products at her online store as well as on social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook 


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